Two steps forward, three steps back

Everton have slipped into reverse under Roberto Martinez who must surely be on borrowed time where it comes to convincing the fanbase that he is capable of evolving away from the approach that scuttled Wigan.

Lyndon Lloyd 25/01/2016 67comments  |  Jump to last

It was a game they simply had to win to improve on a record of just 1 win in 9 Premier League matches; to erase the sense of frustration and injustice at the events of last weekend at Stamford Bridge; to get the team back into the top half of the table; and to prove that the promise shown in terms of greater organisation since the New Yearcould be turned into points.

Instead, Everton fell to their fifth home defeat of the season and effectively saw the remaining glimmer of hope on their top-four hopes extinguished by what was an awful performance in the context of the ability in their ranks. A mere six wins in 23 Premier League games now tells its own unforgivable story and solidifies the question marks that have been forming over Roberto Martinez's tenure for the past 18 months.

Coming off two decent results from difficult fixtures at the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge, this was Everton's chance to come back home to Goodison Park, earn successive League wins for the first time this season and finally light the touchpaper on a campaign that has promised much but delivered little except more frustration. Had they begun the game with a sense of purpose befitting the "Last Chance Saloon" nature of the game as it related to their European hopes, they might have revved up a tentative and anxious crowd that hasn't celebrated a win in the Premier League since the third week of November.

Unfortunately, however, the opposite was true. It was evident from the first whistle that, despite their awful away record, Swansea were going to be no pushover and that their efforts under the gaze of their new manager, Francesco Guidolin, combined with the Blues' suicidal tendencies, were a recipe for more misery for the home side. Those Evertonians who have seen their side concede the first goal on countless occasions this season were, predictably, anxious in the early going, the mood not helped by an injury to Muhamed Besic after just nine minutes.

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The loss of a player who fired a shot off the post after three minutes and has become something of a new Talisman at Goodison in recent weeks, compounded when Kevin Mirallas was also forced off with less than half an hour gone, obviously had an affect on Everton' ability to generate some momentum in a poor first half but the Blues had shot themselves in the foot before they had had a chance to get going.

Martinez made great fanfare about how quickly he was able to institute a passing- and posession-based game at Everton when he first arrived and control of the ball became a hallmark, for better or worse depending on the circumstances, of the team's play. Here, though, it was Swansea affecting all the neat and incisive passing while Everton gambled on quick "percentages" balls hoping for something to break for Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley or Gerard Deulofeu in forward areas. More often than not, they found the immovable object of the impressive Ashley Williams who largely had Lukaku in his pocket for much of the afternoon.

The only time Martinez's side seemed willing to hold onto the ball for any length of time was in defence, where the playing-with-fire routine involving John Stones and Tim Howard that had already worn thin before today ended up handing the visitors the lead in the 17th minute. As he so often does, Stones delayed a pass back to the American who appeared oblivious to the opportunism of Andre Ayew and, after taking two steps away from the ball to set himself for a clearance, was hurried into a wild, panicked hack as the Ghanaian raced in to intercept. Ayew was dumped on the turf, referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot and Gylfi Sugurdsson lashed an unsaveable penalty into the top corner.

Not for the first time this season, Everton dug themselves out of that hole after Deulofeu's goalbound shot had been blocked behind by Neil Taylor. The same defender failed to track Tom Cleverley's dead ball or Gareth Barry's run to the near post to meet it and Jack Cork inadvertently helped the veteran midfielder's touch into the goal via the far post. Parity restored and that early mistake atoned for, that should have been the reset that Everton needed to seize control of the contest and go on to win but they fell behind again 11 minutes before the break to a goal they would prove singularly unable to erase over the ensuing 55 minutes.

A potential handball on Williams was not given by the referee in the build up and Everton lost focus, failed to press as Swansea played through them down the left channel, easily out-manoeuvred Bryan Oviedo – a painfully square peg in a round right-back hole at times – and Ayew popped up in the box to fire goalwards from the angle. Another heavy deflection, this time off Stones, guided the ball over Howard and it was 2-1.

Everton had their moments between then and half time, Lukaku dragging the best chance just wide from the edge of the box and Barkley jinking his way through with a wonderful run but then seeing his shot charged down, but in general the home side often couldn't build anything in the final third because they kept slinging the ball into the box aimlessly through Cleverley and Deulofeu.

That would gradually change in the second half where, after Howard had made a good stop to deny Wayne Routledge, it became one-way traffic to Swansea's goal and Deulofeu began to take more of the initiative by peppering the Swans' six-yard box with crosses whipped in from the right. That, after seeing him do the same thing on numerous occasions two seasons ago, no one was regularly gambling by throwing themselves in the way of one of them to divert it home was frustrating. Granted, some of them were delivered with too much pace but Steven Pienaar knocked one over the bar at the back post and Lukaku came within a few inches of connecting with another in front of goal.

All that pressure would result in just two efforts on target in the entire 90 minutes, however one of them from Lukaku who just couldn't get enough power on Barkley's cross from the byline to steer it past Fabianski who sprang across his line to make a two-handed save.

That Seamus Coleman, a curious 66th-minute change for Oviedo that left Arouna Kone (the man supposedly keeping Mirallas and Steven Naismith out the side this season) sitting on the bench, didn't grab the equaliser that would have secured a 12th draw of the season will remain a mystery. The Irishman latched onto a brilliant pass by Stones in the 88th minute and had most of the goal to aim for with just the goalkeeper in front of him but pulled his effort wide of the far post.

Then, as the game ticked into a fifth minute of stoppage time, a corner from the left fell at Coleman's feet barely two yards out but he somehow contrived to scoop the ball over the bar with the goal yawning in front of him.

Frankly, had either of those gone in, Martinez and his players would have saved some face but another meaningless point would have papered over some alarming and expanding cracks in a team that has the potential to be in the top four but which is massively under-performing. Martinez obliquely shifted some of the blame afterwards to the flat atmosphere at Goodison by claiming his players are fearful in front of their own fans but the painful reality is that Everton are not helping themselves in that regard.

It is no accident that some of the better games and higher levels of excitement inside the Grand Old Lady recently have come in the matches against Spurs and Manchester City when Martinez's side looked disciplined, composed and gave the supporters something to shout about. In the current vein of defensive frailty, individual cock-ups, goalkeeping calamity and a general lack of energy in pressing the opposition, it should come as a surprise to no one why Evertonians are so on edge during home games.

Everton currently lack tempo with the ball and, seemingly, any kind of system when they don't it. Gone are the days of doggedly hounding visiting teams out of their stride, replaced by an apparent mandate to the likes of Barkley and Lukaku to stroll around the centre circle as opponents ease by them with the ball to mount unfettered attacks. If the first line of defence is attack, Everton's has been taken completely out of the equation, either by managerial instruction to preserve energy? or a dereliction of individual duty. Either scenario is damning of Martinez's management.

Put bluntly, despite having assembled the most exciting squad in three decades, the mounting evidence suggests that in the League, where Everton earn their bread and butter, the club are now going backwards under this manager and unless something changes quickly it's difficult to see an end to the two-steps-forward-three-steps-back tenor to his stewardship of the Blues.

Safe passage to a Wembley final on Wednesday evening where, no doubt, another backs-to-the-wall strategy will need to be carried out, would provide a welcome distraction but Martinez must surely be on borrowed time where it comes to convincing the fanbase that he is capable of evolving away from the cavailier, defence-be-damned attitude that eventually scuttled Wigan and towards a more complete and balanced approach that is the only way to succeed in the Premier League.

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Reader Comments (67)

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Andy Crooks
1 Posted 25/01/2016 at 20:47:28
Lyndon, his philosophy is paramount to him. I honestly believe he is deluded enough to blame anything or anyone for the failure of his harebrained notions. Now it's the supporters and I believe he has crossed the line. I don't know an Evertonian who has any respect for him left.

Last week he made it clear he would not compromise. There is a lethargy about the team an arrogance about the coach and some of the players that is toxic. Our league position is shameful and elimination to city would surely test his integrity and force a resignation. The way we started yesterday was astounding and indicative that something is badly wrong.

Ian Hollingworth
2 Posted 25/01/2016 at 21:26:23
I fear RM really does believe that everyone else is wrong and he is right about everything.

His constant rambles are utter nonsense and his attempts to blame the fans for Goodison results is shameful. It is not like we have a winning streak away from home now is it?

His time is long overdue.
Kase Chow
3 Posted 25/01/2016 at 21:36:59
Some people believe we play better football under Martinez than Moyes, but what's exciting about scoring 2 or 3 good goals and conceding 3 or 4???

I hated RM last season for how boring he made us and I hate him this season for his lack of defensive mindedness.

Jeff Armstrong
4 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:23:02
His one decent season was with a fit, defensively diciplined unit, which he inherited and has spent the last 18 months turning it into a complete and utter shambolic embarrassment, with virtually the same defenders that were once the backbone of a potentially good side.
Dick Fearon
5 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:26:45
Two shots on target in 90 minutes at home. No more needs to be said.
Michael Winstanley
6 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:34:54
If we can all see the potential danger then I'd like to think those in charge can see it. I don't see us changing any time soon so what are they waiting for?

Phil Williams
7 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:49:38
And just when you think it can't get any worse... It's Martin Atkinson ffs.
Sid Logan
8 Posted 25/01/2016 at 23:01:22
Lyndon,

I think most of us a fed up to the back teeth with repeating the unalterable truth that the problems the team suffers from pretty much most of the time are down to Martinez and his footballing philosophy.

His philosophy when combined with his personality produces a team with no fight, no bite and crucially no will to win at all cost. The latter emotion would probably be anathema to Martinez.

I am convinced that there is little point talking about him changing because I believe he’s incapable of it. Behind his nice guy image – which is probably justified – I think there is a huge ego and therefore a ingrained stubborn streak. Being a nice guy and possessing a huge ego are not incompatible. Flawed philosophy + stubbornness + lack of ruthlessness = eventual relegation.

Evertonians had better get used to him being around for the long haul unless something close to disaster happens.

He has made sure he has endeared himself to everyone at the Club from the Chairman down. He also adheres to Michael Corleone’s policy of keeping you friends close and your enemies (or potential enemies in his case) closer.

So we have quite a few former players who often appeared in the media, in one form or another, and could well have been speaking out right now. They are Joe Royle, Graham Sharp, Graham Stuart and Ian Snodin who are employed by the club in one capacity or another.

No disrespect to them because why wouldn’t they take the jobs offered. I know that sound like I’m painting the manager as Machiavellian but I’ve held this view for some time not just during the current heightened levels of dissatisfaction with him.

So as I said above unless there’s a real chance of relegation he’s with us for the forseeable unfortunately.

Sid Logan
9 Posted 25/01/2016 at 23:05:58
ps: Watch out for Michael Ball and Ronny Goodlass to be added to the list of Everton Ambassadors in the near future!

Jack Cross
10 Posted 26/01/2016 at 04:48:25
Sid Logan (#9).

I agree, we have a club full of yes-men who are more interested in their salaries and keeping in with the boys, rather than speaking up, or even whispering in BK's ear that this can’t go on.

I just can’t fathom why pundits on TV and in the media regard him as a great coach. What are they going by? His track record states the complete opposite.

I never wanted or rated him. But one things for sure: he’s here for the duration.

When Distin left, the writing was on the wall. You don’t become a poor defender over night, unless you play for Martinez, that is.

Let's hope we do Man City on Wednesday. Not for his sake but for ours.

Derek Thomas
11 Posted 26/01/2016 at 04:56:45
Almost everybody (so far) mentions or alludes to ’The Philosophy’ and lack of change in attitude. It’s like the team is a cake and philosophy is baking power (or what ever the stuff is you put in cakes besides cake). The cake isn’t rising/the team isn’t performing... the cure must be – and can only be – add more baking powder/philosophy until it does.

This whole situation is starting to make previously sane people say things in desperation that on another day they would not and should not even contemplate, like...

Moyes!

I hope we lose at City. That’s how bad it is now and that’s why he has to go... never mind the 6 wins his season and the 18 in 60 which is cause on it’s own.

Jack Cross
12 Posted 26/01/2016 at 05:11:21
I don't want Moyes back. He shit on us and can't be trusted.

Martin O'Neil, that's who I would like.

Phil Walling
13 Posted 26/01/2016 at 05:14:18
Never thought I’d live to say it but Stan Collymore is the only pundit brave enough to tell the truth about Martinez. He’s spotted how our man values his philosophy over all else... even results!

Indulging the mistaken decision-making of the likes of Stones, Barkley and Howard rather than moving to correct them is costing us dear and will continue to do so.

Christopher Timmins
14 Posted 26/01/2016 at 07:22:42
Lyndon, it's a bloody poor show at this stage; compared to the man in charge at Spurs, our manager is not at the races. Out of possession, we are one of worst teams in the Premier League. We simply do not work hard enough!
Paul Tran
15 Posted 26/01/2016 at 07:47:57
There was a point in the latter years of Moyes's reign when I came on here and said I wanted the Everton manager to mix organisation with keeping the ball, controlling the game and scoring more goals. I hoped that man would be Moyes, but if he carried on as he was I wanted him out.

I'll say exactly the same about Martinez. It's his choice.

Ray Robinson
16 Posted 26/01/2016 at 08:41:36
Derek (#11). Sorry, by saying you would like us to lose at City you have lost all credibility with me – no matter what the merits of your argument.

Frankly that’s an insult to all of us paying good money on Wednesday to support the team – and also to the thousands at home rooting for the team.

Michael Polley
17 Posted 26/01/2016 at 09:06:03
Player power!! They need to rebel against Martinez. Once any manager loses the dressing room he has to go. They need to show some balls, and stand up and be counted.

Distin obviously saw the writing on the wall, but this time the whole team must tell Martinez to Fuck off !!

Sid Logan
18 Posted 26/01/2016 at 09:24:29
The manager we should have got was Slavin Bilic.

If the Chairman really does want some success and has love of the club that he says he has (and I believe him) he should forget easy choices and look at someone with a proven track record and the right age.

If you had studied Martinez track record (which he's fully living up to) he would never have been appointed. I don't expect Pep but there are better out there. I don't want Moyes back and I don't want merry go round carpetbaggers.

Having said that you can forget about a new manager probably until after next season.

Rob Halligan
19 Posted 26/01/2016 at 09:33:00
Derek Thomas #11. I was pulled up by Michael Kenrick for having a go at fans who wanted us to lose, just so Martinez could be under real pressure and possibly sacked. He asked me for names. Trust me mate, you're top of the list.
Tony Abrahams
20 Posted 26/01/2016 at 09:43:58
How can anyone want us to go out the cup tomorrow night? Words could not describe anyone who felt this way
Derek Thomas
22 Posted 26/01/2016 at 10:32:18
Ray @16 Rob @ 19; Read again what I actually wrote, not what you mistakenly think I wrote... or meant... and if I gave that impression, all that reflects on is my poor command of my native language. Not my personal opinion.

’This whole situation is starting to make previously sane people say thing in desperation that on another day they would not and should not even contemplate, like.

Moyes

I hope we lose at Man City.

That’s how bad it is now and that’s why he has to go... never mind the 6 wins his season and the 18 in 60 which is cause on it’s own.’

There is more to Evertonia on the web than ToffeeWeb and I have seen some, not many admittedly, but some actually say that and get jumped on in a similar manner... like I said previously sane.

I’m only 50% guilty – No Moyes at any price, for however short a time. If he gets in and gets any sort of Improvement, which he well might, it’ll only be the reverse of Martinez’s 1st season. Then he’ll be all over Bill going on about his ’precious’ and soon he’ll have a new contract and off we go again.

Can I come off the naughty step now?

Paul Goodchild
23 Posted 26/01/2016 at 10:57:59
I think we all agree the problems, albeit not all, are mainly defensive issues. It is a train of thought that Martinez in his first season was living off the qualities that Moyes had installed in the team. This may be true to a point, but there were some good solid defensive displays at the back end of that season. The Arsenal 3-0 and the Man Utd 2-0 both spring to mind.

I believe Alan Stubbs was there for the whole of that season and left for Hibs in June 2014. Maybe some of the defensive qualities in the team that season were his influence and we have been sadly lacking someone similar since his departure. Just a thought.

Rob Halligan
24 Posted 26/01/2016 at 11:13:08
Derek, you said you hope we lose at Man City. Please explain then exactly what that means?
Fran Mitchell
25 Posted 26/01/2016 at 11:18:59
Derek, you’re lack of using quotation marks, or italic font, made it appear to the general reader (as we never truly read in depth be, we’re mostly reading at work/ on the bus etc).

In terms of that discussion ’hope we lose’, I understand. The feeling is that is we fluke the league cup, then it guarantees another year with Martinez. Is the short term lift of silverware worth it? It’s valid but incorrect, of course.

Football is always about winning, and boy does this club need silverware. While top 4 is now the golden chalice, and cup football seen as a side-show (that is what Sky keeps telling us), but I still believe real fans crave silverware, that day at Wembley.

Also, if we win the cup, we may be able to convince a decent manager to take over. While the Europa League is widely derided, Europe is Europe and the best players/managers want that exposure/challenge.

We need, after Wednesday, the likes of Barry, Jagielka or Baines to come out and criticise the manager. If the young players do, they’ll be written of as young lads pushing for a move. If seasoned professionals do, then it will be taken seriously.

John Raftery
26 Posted 26/01/2016 at 11:21:41
In terms of his performance in any other business the manager would now be on his final warning. He would know that unless there is an immediate and sustained improvement in results he will be heading for the exit door. I have not given up hope on Roberto but the knives are out and another couple of defeats in the next fortnight will surely make his position untenable.

At this precise point there is no need for panic. We are still in a comfortable mid table position and we have only lost six games. Losing only one game away from home perhaps tells us that not everything has been disastrous.

The players must also take their share of responsibility for the failure to win home games and for the five defeats we have suffered at Goodison. It is the home form which has killed us and poisoned the atmosphere.

It was the same in the autumn and winter of 1983-84 when a league cup run kept Howard Kendall in a job. Back then we recovered through the collective effort of the players, a focused manager and 13,000 regulars who got behind a team willing to pull their finger out. Team, manager and fans showed a togetherness which turned things around. Therein lies the best solution to our current problems.

As always sacking the manager is easier than finding a suitable replacement. Forget Martin O’Neill. He will not leave the Ireland job before the summer. Di Matteo completely lost the plot at West Brom. Much as I admired his achievement in stabilising the club during his tenure, Moyes as an interim manager would be seen as a panic move. It may come to that but we are not there yet.

Martin Mason
27 Posted 26/01/2016 at 11:37:27
The players can’t criticise him. He is a vindictive man, as many have found out; it’s yet another weakness that he has.
Phil Walling
28 Posted 26/01/2016 at 11:58:20
I am sick of people harking back to Howard Kendall's situation thirty-two years ago to justify RM being given more time. It's of absolutely no significance in the present circumstances which sees talented players being sacrificed in the cause of a playing style which does not produce positive results. And it is results that count, believe me.

Again, some hark back to ancient days of SAF when they seek to prove that faith in a manager is always rewarded by ultimate success. As if. Any in – depth research will show that many managers who have been indulged when they should have been dispensed with have never delivered – or if they have – have gone off the boil as soon as a renewed contract has provided a pathway to lifelong riches.

The truth is that what happened in less competitive times under different Boards with different managers has no bearing on the game today. Far too many clubs who have stuck by their man (including Wigan!) have been left to rue the patience and trust they put in some smooth talker as they wallow in the lower leagues.

Personally, I believe BK is far more 'with it' than he gets credited for on here and will act as soon as his advisers tell him HIS pot of gold is at real risk. This week will be interesting.

Patrick Murphy
29 Posted 26/01/2016 at 12:00:47
Martin (27) Prey tell us mere mortals how you know that Mr Martinez is a vindictive man? I'm always intrigued when people seem to have an inside track on the personality of a public figure over and above what most observers are privy to.
Linda Morrison
30 Posted 26/01/2016 at 12:06:29
Stop ranting about wanting us to lose at City, I can’t see Everton as they are now getting to half time at 0-0, let alone with a goal, but I could be wrong. This is Roberto’s third season and it is the worst so far.

I just don’t see him changing at all. We are unlikely to go down as there are others worse than us, but I’ll be amazed if he is with us next season

Derek Thomas
31 Posted 26/01/2016 at 12:21:47
Rob @24; No. read it again. I wrote it. I didn’t say it. I reported what others (whose names escape me) said they wanted... rather poorly or so it seems... but I already apologised for that or my poor English cause you too misread that as well.

"And if I gave that impression, all that reflects on is my poor command of my native language. Not my personal opinion."

Are we done yet? Or do I have to re-explain my previously re-explained explanation of what I never said in the first place.

[Goes off to find hair shirt and scrouge, then suitably chastised, sign up for English 101.considers changing name by deed poll to ’dobby’ and performing 50yrs reparations in Chez Halligan... stands with gaze toward floor, passing sombrero through hands in manner of downtrodden peasant in a Mexican village talking to Yul Brynner]

Now can I come off the naughty step

jeez.

Patrick Murphy
32 Posted 26/01/2016 at 12:22:21
Phil (28) I couldn't agree more that harking back to previous events is of no use whatsoever, and even if Everton and United were rewarded for their patience all those years ago it means nothing in the here and now and more likely many many clubs have regretted keeping a struggling manager in post.

The question the board should always ask themselves is would we appoint our current boss on his last 6, 12 or 24 months results? If the answer to that question is an overwhelming no, then the board must admit they have the wrong manager in place and should seek a new person to take up the role. Mind you if they had have asked that question at the time they were considering Mr Martinez for the job they wouldn't have appointed him in the first place.

Whilst winning a cup may postpone any proper scrutiny of the man in post, the bread and butter is and always has been the results achieved in the league and the board of directors should assess the manager on those results alone.

However, in this modern game, money has become the main target for many clubs and on that score, Martinez may be doing a fantastic job as far as the directors are concerned, particularly if the investments he has made in players are realised in the transfer market.

Martin Mason
33 Posted 26/01/2016 at 12:34:37
Patrick, Distin is one example of many. He crossed RM and never played again.
Derek Thomas
34 Posted 26/01/2016 at 12:46:25
Eto'o? Garbutt, Mirallas... seems that way but nobody really knows. Will be interesting down the track when the various biogs come out... and mostly it always does come out one way or another, sooner or later.
Phil Walling
35 Posted 26/01/2016 at 12:58:21
Patrick, the irony of RM's 'philosophy' is that it is beginning to look as if Romelu will have to score FORTY goals this season for the manager to be vindicated. A big ask, that!
Martin Mason
36 Posted 26/01/2016 at 13:07:18
Correct, Derek.
Cliff Roberts
37 Posted 26/01/2016 at 13:18:09
The great Howard Kendall was not so great when he first got the manager's job. The best signing Kendall made in his managerial career was Colin Harvey as his right-hand man.

If Roberto could be persuaded that he needs an 'alter-ego' figure alongside him – maybe an Allan Irvine or Davie Wier type – it could change all our fortunes around...

Rob Halligan
38 Posted 26/01/2016 at 13:39:49
I apologise, Derek. Just re-read your post again, and it's not you actually saying "I hope we lose at Man City".
Derek Thomas
39 Posted 26/01/2016 at 13:50:31
No problem Rob... it’s just another reason why he has to go, lest we go into totally melt down and disappear up our own backsides before a ball's been kicked.

Geoff Evans
40 Posted 26/01/2016 at 14:03:07
We took a punt on this manager and unfortunately it hasn’t paid off. Whatever happens at the Ethiad should make no difference, a look at the league table says it all.

On the evidence I’ve seen so far I don’t believe Mr Martinez is a Premier League manager, and the kind of excuses coming out of his mouth are bordering on the delusional. He’s turning us into a team that everyone wants to play, I believe he’s lost the supporters and is close to losing the players.

Oliver Molloy
41 Posted 26/01/2016 at 14:17:00
The result at Stamford Bridge was not at all decent – it was another disgraceful 2 points dropped.
Chris Thornton
42 Posted 26/01/2016 at 14:20:16
How is it possible that a team with such a shambolic defence and a manager who doesn’t know how to set up a defence has lost only one Premier League game away from home this season?

Why have only Southampton, Tottenham and Manchester City conceded fewer goals away from home (11 compared with our 12, eight of which came in three games)?

Jos Rowland
43 Posted 26/01/2016 at 14:35:42
Let's be totally honest even our goal against Swansea was a fluke it was yet another shit corner that Barry had to flick on that somehow went in.

That's not be being negative, it's just a fact. Martinez doesn't practice corners as it’s only a small portion of the game so it wasn't deliberate and genius, that just leaves it to hit the first man yet again (doesn't matter who takes it) and it somehow went in.

So all the players are now forgiven for future pathetic corners as we once scored from one. It’s a joke.

Winston Williamson
44 Posted 26/01/2016 at 14:42:11
Is it just me, or is anyone else so sick and tired of hearing how shite we are, how shite RM is and that he should be sacked??? (and thinking it too)!!!

Please, please, please put us out of our misery...I don't think I can take another game of this sorry-excuse-of-a-manager!

Grant Rorrison
45 Posted 26/01/2016 at 14:48:03
Chris 42. Don't trouble people with facts.
Graham Mockford
46 Posted 26/01/2016 at 14:56:22
Chris #42

You raise a good point. The reason we concede more goals at home is fairly straightforward. We play a more open game and our opponents play a more counter attacking style to which we are particularly vulnerable. We are much more comfortable when sides come at us and we adopt a less gung ho approach.

Of the five home defeats all bar Man City we have been beaten by sides frustrating us and hitting us on the break. It is pretty obvious to all bar Martinez it appears.

Ray Robinson
48 Posted 26/01/2016 at 15:17:40
Derek, you are forgiven! I have re-read your post, mentally adding quotation marks and now I know what you meant. Apologies!

However, there is another person on another thread now suggesting that it would be a bad thing if Everton beat Man City. Unbelievable!! – whatever you think about our philosopher in charge.

Tony Hill
49 Posted 26/01/2016 at 15:23:43
Graham #46, yes that's obviously so and while our goals conceded are better away from home for the reason you give, we have still thrown away some serious points at Swansea, West Ham and, of course, at Bournemouth, Chelsea and Norwich (in those last three our defending had the usual crap elements). That's 10 points which I think it is fair to say we should have gathered.
Carl Taylor
50 Posted 26/01/2016 at 15:37:10
I am as sick as anyone is with our current situation, but my biggest concern is who is available to replace Martinez at present, or more probably/hopefully, in the summer?

Also, I would like to state now, I hope we win the League Cup, and FA Cup, this season, and when we do, I still want Martinez gone!! Why? Fundamentals!

If you don't concede, you have a far greater chance of winning any game of football.

Set plays/Dead ball situations. Even if you don't consider them important, your opposition does, so practice them!

Jay Harris
51 Posted 26/01/2016 at 16:16:05
Ray, I wouldn't condone any supporter ever wanting us to lose especially in the semi finals of a cup but I speak to a lot of supporters who feel that way and they just want this man gone. They see a result at Man City vindicating his rule and giving him the right to hold onto his job.

It amazes me after last season that he still has the job because Xmas last season was the biggest low point in a long time for our club.

I don't know how long it takes the penny to drop with Bill and how much his illness is affecting things but neither of those should matter.

We need this self deluded fool gone now.

Grant Rorrison
52 Posted 26/01/2016 at 16:40:49
Tony 49. We only conceded 2 goals in total in three of the five games you mentioned. Are we not allowed to concede goals at all or else Martinez is a shit manager?

Carl 50. It's not set pieces we need to practice. It's how to defend against a player in a clearly off side position. How to deal with hand-balls that richochet into our penalty area to opposition attackers. How to make sure deflections don't end up in the back of our own net and how to deal with miss hit crosses that turn into 'wonder' goals.

Seriously though. How many goals from free kicks and corners have we conceded this season?

Ray Robinson
53 Posted 26/01/2016 at 16:56:46
Jay, I just cannot comprehend the mentality of such people. Why are we supporting our team if not to try and win things? If Everton were to win the Capital One Cup, that will stay in people's memories and record books forever, irrespective of what we think of the manager.
Max Fine
54 Posted 26/01/2016 at 16:57:19
Careful Chris (42), this board is for found-less tabloid-esque allegations regarding our manager's personality (he's vindictive apparently), school-yard tittle tattle (Distin 'crossed' Martinez) and general fish-wifery (apparently the players need to 'rebel').

Declan Brown
56 Posted 26/01/2016 at 17:12:39
I, up to a few weeks ago, was hoping Roberto could turn it round, but deep down I thought it was beyond him as he could not change. Right now I'd like to see him gone but that means nothing, the board have the final say on that. The takeover rumours (I'm not buying that one myself) have bought Roberto time for the forseeable future.

Me personally, I think if you're going to advocate sacking the manager you have to have a person in mind to replace him rather than leaving the club in limbo and rudderless. That would be creating more danger to the club's future. I think right now, it would be beyond Dunc, Unsy, Weir and Sheedy to take the reins on. Managerial (top level) experience is a must right now.

I think we'll finish in the bottom half, if we'll get close to the relegation the players will throw the philosophy out the window and go with what they know best to get results. Top 4 was gone before Christmas, we're too inconsistent and poor at the back to get anywhere near Europe (cups aside).

Last year I suggested Mark Hughes, I got slaughtered in that article by all and sundry. Hate to say I told you so, but that's what we need, a manager to make us mentally tough, fit, competitive, combative when necessary, good at set peices, has a nasty streak like his teams when required and can get good players in from the continent. He gets his teams to play a bit too.

I read that one poster wanted Jose Mourinho. Bit far fetched that to even give it any credence. If Roberto goes, we have to be clever and realistic about who's taking over. Moyes again for the short term? Most definitely not. But we missed a trick in not getting Slaven Bilic or Mark Hughes. That's my thoughts on it.

Derek, you would have been better holding your fire about losing to City tomorrow night. I've heard Liverpool / Man Utd fans saying that they hoped they'd lose if it forced LVG / Rodgers out, the end would justify the means of getting rid of the manager. When I read your post I knew what you were getting at. Means to justify the end which a lot want to happen = Roberto getting the sack.

I want us to win the League Cup and really go for it in the FA Cup, as much as I desperately want it, the price of that success being Roberto for another year at least? I think without the cup success Roberto will be gone in the summer. Winning the cup giving him another year? That's another debate for another day hopefully (i.e. we win a cup this year).

Will Firstbrook
58 Posted 26/01/2016 at 17:20:16
As was pointed out earlier in this thread, any thought about replacing the current manager will only occur when the current owner and board perceive their financial stake to be truly at risk. I am not sure where that threshold lies as we slowly settle into the bottom half of the table. However, as someone else noted, the insurance is the potential sell-on value of players. We certainly possess a few in the current squad(notwithstanding abject performances of late) who's transfer will result in a handsome profit thereby offsetting any loss in revenue associated with dropping places in the table.

Don't forget all of this is happening against the backdrop of a possible sale of the club. As such, I suspect that our brave board and owner are otherwise distracted by the prospect of cashing out and therefore not paying much attention to what is happening on the pitch these days. Perhaps once it is confirmed the American interest in the club has disappeared, then, perhaps, we may start to see some action in a vain effort to preserve what little value is left in the club.

Of course, I may have overdosed on my cynicism pills and all will be rosey very soon.

Dennis Ng
60 Posted 26/01/2016 at 17:24:35
Declan, there are many good managers out there, hired or free agent. Spalletti is the one I have in mind.

But one thing you need to consider is the people who will be hiring the manager. As many names as we can throw out there, if BK is still in charge, he will pick one that he has control over. Not the ideal situation given the amount of stagnation (or digression in this case) he's allowed. My fear is only that our form will continue to drop until we're or or actually in the relegation zone.

The fighting spirit should have started at the start of the season, and given their lack of stomach to change things for the better, I can only fear the worst when the storm arrives.

Jay Harris
61 Posted 26/01/2016 at 17:26:14
Ray,
I totally agree with you.

We need something to restore a bit of pride and get the fans and the players cheered up a bit instead of this constant embarrassing mess.

John Jones
62 Posted 26/01/2016 at 17:26:51
Reading this thread is just nuts. I never wanted Martinez and was told by my friends, even RS mates, that I was nuts after the first season.

The guy is the football equivalent of a sociopath. Today in his press conference, it was set up from start to finish only 2 journalists got ask questions... BEFOR A SEMI FINAL!

I agree with nearly every word written on here apart from the losing the match part. Even though I have a recurring dream about the cup final and then playing Doncaster next season.

Even though many people didn’t like Moyes I can not remember any fans saying to me or reading anywhere that they hoped we got beat so Moyes was sacked.

This is so bad the man has got the fans' backs up. Everton fans are not thick they can see through the bullshit.

COYBB tomorrow... just hope my dream is just a dream.

Ged Simpson
63 Posted 26/01/2016 at 17:35:05
Easy post. We will lose. RS will win.

I can pretend to be smart tomorrow...

Patrick Murphy
64 Posted 26/01/2016 at 17:48:26
Max (53) I know RAWK has something to do with the fans of our neighbours but I have no idea whether it is a website similar to TW. Anyway if you mean that Evertonians are unjustified in their concerns about the teams results I would beg to differ. Perhaps you could inform us how many times the other lot have only won one league game in ten, not very often I would guess and certainly not twice in a couple of seasons or how often have they won only 3 of 13 home games?

Again probably not very often if at all in recent history. I stand to be corrected on those claims but whether other clubs fans are moaners or justified or not, I can assure you that most Evertonians are generally forgiving of poor results but not very forgiving if obvious problems within the team are being ignored.

Jeff Armstrong
65 Posted 26/01/2016 at 18:05:19
Will Martinez still be in charge if we lose the next 2 games?

The season will be all but over, so why not get someone in who might at least turn it around enough for our star players to think "That was a decent end to the season, I'll stick around for a bit".

Whereas if Martinez stays, you don't need a crystal ball to see how it will pan out.
Sid Logan
66 Posted 26/01/2016 at 18:34:18
Can we just cut the guy who said he wanted Everton to lose at City a bit of slack. He obviously didn’t mean it. Who amongst hasn’t had the thought when we want to see change at EFC (normally when we want more spends or the manager dumped) that something catastrophic might just bring it about.

All of want the blues to win every game we can – that’s why we are on ToffeeWeb expressing our frustrations because we want better. We know we can’t have perfection but we know when we should be getting more than we are.

I also think we are wasting out time talking about who we will have as our next manager because it will be about whoever is available when Martinez eventually goes. That will not be (barring a serious relegation threat this season which is hopefully highly unlikely). Martinez, as I keep saying, will be here next season, so we might as well get used to the idea.

Whilst we may want to see drastic action, the threat of relegation (as a means of setting the spark, is not something I would want to experience. The memory of it seeming nor to be beyond the realms of possibility last season was too scary to live through again – at least for me.

However, should the worst come to the worst we have our very own SWAT team in situ ready to institute a temporary rescue should it be needed namely Joe Royle and David Unsworth.

I also want to put my twopenneth in on the matter of grammar and typos. For some reason there’s a problem with, for example, typing in word and copying/pasting in ToffeeWeb because all sorts of weird punctuation marks appear even though this is the best way of producing a typo/incorrect grammar free piece. If an iPad is used (as is my choice) the chances or errors are, for a number of reasons, high.

We should all be a bit more forgiving – except, of course, in the case of football manager out of their depth.

Tony Abrahams
67 Posted 26/01/2016 at 19:37:35
Probably the reason I never got an O-Level in English at school, Eugene.
Jay Wood
68 Posted 26/01/2016 at 19:53:44
In the final scene of the Michael Caine classic, The Italian Job, the gang of bank robbers in their getaway bus (!) are teetering on the edge of a 1000 metre precipice, with the robbed gold bullion sliding precariously towards the back of the bus to critically shift the balance.

Laying stretched out on the floor, tantalizingly close to the just out of reach bullion, Caine's character Charlie Croker, turns to his fellow crooks and says:

"Hang on a minute lads ... I've got a great idea." And the shot pans away to an exterior view of the teetering bus against the backdrop of the Italian Alps.

Everton and Roberto Martinez are similarly teetering on the brink.

I have defended and criticized RM and the team and individual players in equal measure. I certainly don't resort to gratuitous insults of them, or take an absolutist position either end of the positive or negative spectrum, as some on TW are inclined to do.

As recently as last week, after the Chelsea game, I appealed to others to cut everyone some slack as we had performed in the main extremely well, but that Lady Luck was not with us on the day. I could offer no such defence after the latest debacle at Goodison against Swansea.

To speak first of the positives. We have a talented, youthful squad, some of whom are sought after by the very top clubs in Europe. Many of those players were either recruited by RM, or given a run in the first team by him.

His first season with us exceeded by some distance my expectation of what he would bring to the club.

His substitutions were often timely, bold and imaginative and quite often game changing, with the incoming player assisting or scoring a goal.

He retained a strong defence, just 39 league goals conceded.

Goodison Park remained an intimidating fortress.

The quality of our football at times was the equal of the very best teams in the league.

I agree with and support his chosen recruitment policy of promising youth, from which - in addition to those players developed through the academy since a young age - we could reap a very rich harvest in the near future.

I liked how he 'got' Everton in his first season and his positivism and ambition for the club in all aspects.

I was impressed by the depth of his research and study into the game, epitomized by the now famed 'split sofa' at home, whereby he and his missus can spend the night together, albeit with her tuned into her favourite soaps whilst Robbie closely studies football matches.

Now the negatives. In seasons 2 and 3, RM has failed to replicate or reproduce all the good he achieved in his first season.

The solid miserly defence has vaporized.

Fortress Goodison has been replaced by a decaying backyard door, swinging wide open on rusty hinges.

The briskness and accuracy of attacking moves now splutters and stumbles.

The team cannot be guaranteed to put in a solid performance over the 90 minutes duration of a single game, let alone a sequence of back to back games.

In his first season he was quoted as saying he watched and studied again and again every goal his team conceded to identify the source of the problem so it could be corrected on the training ground. Have we conceded so many goals this season that he is so overwhelmed with a backlog of a huge video library of evidence that he no longer has the time to study our defensive lapses, as previously stated?

His public comments, once so positive and full of optimism, increasingly (in the circumstances we now find ourselves) appear delusional and in denial of the reality of the situation and leave him wide open to (justifiable) criticism.

Taken altogether, there are still occasional glimpses that we are on the cusp of having a really good team.

Sadly, increasingly, there are signs that RM is not the man to help his young charges realize their promise and potential.

It's not necessary to list the damning stats that has led to the growing disquiet of the direction Everton are headed under RM. Most, by now, are all too familiar with them.

And yet ... and yet ... we are just 2 games away from winning silverware after a 21 year drought. Now that could all change in just 24 hours, then change again in a further 72 hours with the FA Cup games against Carlisle.

And therein lies the conundrum of the enigma that is Roberto Martinez.

Regardless of the (meritorious) League Cup run, many a club would have long ago parted with their manager based on RM's league results in the past 18 months. Indeed, many clubs have done just that. With Everton, he has done just enough to retain his position.

The question of whether to continue or replace RM is further clouded by the lack of leadership in BK's continued absence due to obvious ill health, together with the rumours of a takeover (yeah! yeah! I know...).

There is no question there is still a lot to play for this season. One good result at the Eithad tomorrow night, followed by further progress in the FA Cup at the weekend, and the balance swings back in RM's favour once again for the time being.

The alternative...? Defeat tips the balance, the potential of this youthful squad is not realized under this manager and we plunge over the precipice.

Like the cliffhanger ending to The Italian Job, none of us know with any great certainty how this is going to play out.

From my opening paragraph I omitted the very final utterances of Charlie Croker. Having said "Hang on a minute lads ... I've got a great idea," he then looks forlornly at the oh-so-close gold bullion - the same gold bullion that could plunge them all to their death - and utters:

"Ehrm ... ehrm..."

I hope Roberto has more of answer than Charlie Croker to our very precarious predicament, otherwise he - and this team - are a goner.

Brent Stephens
69 Posted 26/01/2016 at 20:22:45
Yes, we'll park the bus as well.
Andy Crooks
70 Posted 26/01/2016 at 21:24:42
I would be just ecstatic for us to get through tomorrow night. I think Martinez is shit but I would be happy for him to fluke us any way possible to Wembley. It will buy him time and rightly so.

I know some Evertonians, with a view to the greater good, would see defeat with mixed feelings, but, fuck, let’s win something. I bow to no one in my disdain for Martinez but if he got it right I, well, humble pie is sometimes alright.

Dave Abrahams
71 Posted 26/01/2016 at 21:41:04
Tony (67) you never even got "Z" level.
Oliver Molloy
72 Posted 26/01/2016 at 23:48:40
Brent (#47),

You’re a smart guy, (hope I’ve got that right); you know what I mean.


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